An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
Portrait of Dr. Ajay Goel

Ajay Goel, A.G.A.F., M.S., Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, Department of Molecular Diagnostics and Experimental Therapeutics
Research Focus
  • Gastrointestinal Cancers
Director, Biotech Innovations
Dynamic and passionate — with a formidable record of patented innovations in cancer care — Ajay Goel, Ph.D., M.S., is committed to developing better methods for the early detection and precision treatment of cancer. He joined City of Hope in June 2019 as founding chair of the new Department of Molecular Diagnostics and Experimental Therapeutics and founding director of Biotech Innovations at Beckman Research Institute.
“City of Hope has a wonderful track record of moving discoveries from bench to clinic,” he said. “And by founding this new department, which will add a layer of earlier noninvasive diagnostics, we will hopefully make a difference in this war on cancer.”
A noted expert in gastrointestinal and other cancers, Goel is currently developing early-detection blood tests for colon, pancreatic and ovarian cancers — as well as a test for pancreatic cancer that can detect the disease seven years earlier than is now possible. Within the next few years, these tests are expected to become a simple and affordable part of everyone’s annual health physical, just like tests for diabetes or cholesterol.
He is also working with genomic-based precision oncology to provide answers to the question: Why do therapies work with some good candidates and not with others.
Goel was born in India, received his Ph.D. in biophysics from Punjab University, completed his postgraduate work at the University of California, San Diego, and went on to a noteworthy 16-year career at Baylor Scott & White Research Institute in Texas. He has authored more than 300 articles in peer-reviewed international journals and holds more than 30 advanced genomic and transcriptomic international patents .
One surprising fact about Goel: In addition to his technological expertise, he finds wisdom in the ancient Indian medical system Ayurveda, which has given us such natural therapies as the proven anti-inflammatory in turmeric. Prevention, he believes, is the best medicine.


City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, 1500 East Duarte Road

Duarte, CA 91010

Jung G, Hernandez-Illa E, Moreira L, Balaguer F, Goel A (2019). Epigenetic biomarkers and therapy in colorectal cancer. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology (In Press).
Xiao H, Shiu PKT, Gabryleska M, Conn SJ, Dey A, Chakrabarti K, Regouc M, Pichler M, Orom UAV, Santulli G, Nishiwada S, Goel A (2019). A liquid biopsy biomarker for predicting response to chemotherapy in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma: A significant step forward in precision medicine, featured in “Highlights on Recent Papers-7”. Non-Coding RNA, 5(2). PMID: 31212658. 
Weng W, Li H, Goel A (2019). Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) and cancer: Emerging biological concepts and clinical implications. BBA Reviews on Cancer, 1871(1):160-169. PMID: 30599187. PMCID: PMC6392428 (Available 1/1/2020).
Ruiz-Banobre J, Goel A (2019). DNA mismatch repair deficiency and immune checkpoint inhibitors in gastrointestinal cancers. Gastroenterology, 156(4):890-903. PMID: 30578781. PMCID: PMC6409193 (Available 3/1/2020).
Ruiz-Banobre J, Kandimalla R, Goel A (2019). Predictive biomarkers for therapeutic response in metastatic colorectal cancer: A systematic review. JCO Precision Oncology (In Press).
Sonohara F, Goel A (2018). Features of Immune cells and the tumor-associated stroma tango as prognostic factors in patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Gastroenterology, 155(5): 1312-1314 PMID: 30300611.
Toiyama Y, Okugawa Y, Fleshman J, Boland CR, Goel A (2018). MicroRNAs as potential liquid biopsy biomarkers in colorectal cancer: A systematic review. BBA Reviews on Cancer, 1870(2): 274-282. PMID: 29852194.
Toiyama Y, Okugawa Y, Boland CR, Goel A (2018). Author reply to the article Methylated microRNA biomarkers for identifying ulceratie colitis-associated colorectal cancers. Gastroenterology, 154(8): 2274-2275. PMID: 29750909.
Wang W, Kandimalla R, Huang H, Zhu L, Li Y, Gao F, Goel A*, Wang X (2017). Molecular subtyping of colorectal cancer: recent progress, new challenges and emerging opportunities. Seminars in Cancer Biology, 55:37-52. PMID: 29775690. PMCID: PMC6240404 (Available 2020-04-01). *Co-corresponding author
Okugawa Y, Toiyama Y, Kusunoki M, Goel A (2019). Re: Cumulative burden of inflammation predicts colorectal neoplasia risk in ulcerative colitis: a large single-center study. Gut, (Epub ahead of print). PMID: 29535153.
Goel A (2017). Utilizing biomarkers in colorectal cancer: an interview with Ajay Goel. Future Oncology, 13(28): 2511-2514. PMID: 29168653.
Vedeld HM, Goel A, Lind GE (2017). Epigenetic biomarkers in gastrointestinal cancers: The current state and clinical perspectives. Seminars in Cancer Biology, 51: 36-49. PMID: 29253542.
Goel A (2017). IGF-1R: SUMO-ing its weight in chemoresistant colorectal cancer. British Journal of Cancer, 117(12): 1733-1735. PMID: 29123265. PMCID: PMC5729482.
Toden S, Goel A (2017). The holy grail of curcumin and its efficacy in various diseases: is bioavailability truly a big concern? Journal of Restorative Medicine, 6: 27-36.
Shigeyasu K, Toden S, Zumwalt TJ, Okugawa Y, Goel A (2017). Emerging role of microRNAs as liquid biopsy biomarkers in gastrointestinal cancers. Clinical Cancer Research, 23(10): 2391-2399. PMID: 28143873. PMCID: PMC5433899. 
Carethers JM, Goel A (2016). Presentation of the Julius M. Friedenwald Medal to C. Richard Boland, MD, AGAF. Gastroenterology, 150(7): 1673-1677. PMID: 27138978. PMCID: PMC4951086. 
Hashimoto Y, Zumwalt T, Goel A (2016). DNA methylation patterns as noninvasive biomarkers and targets of epigenetic therapies in colorectal cancer. Epigenomics, 8(5): 685-703. PMID: 27102979. PMCID: PMC4928499. 
Tovar-Camargo OA, Toden S, Goel A (2016). Exosomal microRNA biomarkers: Emerging frontiers in colorectal and other human cancers. Expert Reviews of Molecular Diagnostics, 16(5): 553-567. PMID: 26892862. PMCID: PMC4935983. 
Boland CR, Goel A (2016). Prognostic subgroups among patients with stage II colon cancer. New England Journal of Medicine, 374(3): 277-278. PMID: 26789877. PMCID: PMC4852473. 
Goel A (2015): MicroRNAs as therapeutic targets in colitis and colitis-associated cancers: Tiny players with a giant impact. Gastroenterology, 149(4): 859-861. PMID: 26311277. PMCID: PMC4852471. 
Zumwalt T, Goel A (2015). Immunotherapy of metastatic colorectal cancer: Prevailing challenges and new perspectives. Current Colorectal Cancer Reports, 11(3): 125-140. PMID: 26441489. PMCID: PMC4591512. 
In The News
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Ajay Goel

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